The Floating Admiral was the first of the Detection Club's collaborative novels, in which 12 of its members wrote a single novel. Eighty-five years later, 14 members of the club have once again collaborated to produce The Sinking Admiral.
The Admiral is a pub in the Suffolk seaside village of Crabwell, the Admiral Byng. The Admiral is also the nickname of its landlord, Geoffrey Horatio Fitzsimmons, as well as the name of the landlord's dinghy. None of them are as buoyant as they should be, for the pub is threatened with closure due to falling takings.
Tempers are already frayed due to the arrival of a television documentary team when Fitzsimmons is found dead in his tethered boat. The villagers assume a simple case of suicide and fear that their debt-ridden pub will now sink without a trace.
The journalists seem determined to finish the job by raking up old skeletons, but they weren't banking on the fact that this story has been written by 14 extremely competitive crime writers - arch bamboozlers who will stop at nothing to save a good pub.
The Sinking Admiral, edited by the Detection Club's outgoing president - author and broadcaster Simon Brett, OBE - continues a tradition established by the Detection Club's founders in 1931, when Dorothy L. Sayers, Agatha Christie, Freeman Wills Crofts and 11 other esteemed authors wrote The Floating Admiral, a collaborative novel, to challenge themselves, fox their audience and help to pay for the club's running costs.
Now, 85 years later, 14 of today's leading crime writers have repeated this unique game of literary consequences, producing an original, ebullient and archetypal whodunit that will keep listeners guessing right up to what crime lovers insist on calling the dénouement.
The contributors to The Sinking Admiral are: Simon Brett, Kate Charles, Natasha Cooper, Stella Duffy, Martin Edwards, Ruth Dudley Edwards, Tim Heald, Michael Jecks, Janet Laurence, Peter Lovesey, Michael Ridpath, David Roberts, L. C. Tyler and Laura Wilson, all members of the Detection Club.
Reviews for previous Detection Club reissues: "A must for all connoisseurs of detective fiction." (Literary Review)
"This year's most welcome reissue." (Sunday Telegraph)
"A book of irresistible charm for students of the detective story." (Times Literary Supplement)
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I didn't like very much really. It seemed to consist mostly of shallow characters trying to have sex with one another in lack lustre ways. The phrase 'melting brown eyes' got so over-worn I felt like throwing something at the speakers.
No. It's dull. Whereas the original Floating Admiral was a book written by relay race (giving rise to speculation about authorial intent) this book was written by committee and it shows.
The reader seemed to be trying to imply he had some kind of secret knowledge all the time. If you can imagine a voice with a knowing wink this would be it. Deeply irritating.
Other than avoid the Crime Club? No.
- Hannah May